Children's Uplift Programme (98336)
UPDATE March 2013: We have carried out plans to expand the program this year. Six new members of staff were hired and oriented in their new roles. There are now 16 full time and 4 part time members of staff. New rooms have been rented so that the toddlers have a separate room from the younger babies, the children have extra space and the mothers with more advanced skills have their own room. There are currently 35 mothers on the training programme and 52 children (ages ranging from a few weeks old to 12 years old) who regularly attend the centre.
Eight girls live at CUP's night shelter. However, longer term accommodation is sought for them. Recently, a hostel was found for three girls who had lived at the night shelter.
Over the past six months 13 mothers have graduated from the training program and have been employed by Hand and Cloth Ltd. Four mothers who graduated the training program a year ago have been working for this company, with whom we have a special relationship.
“What changes would you like to see in your life?”
All seven South Asian women started to talk at the same time. They were sex workers. They lived and worked on the streets of Bangladesh.
Each of them had different stories—the girl to my left had been trafficked from the village when she was seven years old. She went to buy an ice cream one day and never came back. She was sold four times before she ended up working on the street in the city we live in. She has never been back to her village—she is too ashamed.
The girl opposite me had met a man in the village who promised to marry her. He sold her once they came to the city. The girl next to her had worked as a domestic servant when she was six years old. She was abused in one of the homes and then kicked out of the house. She worked on the street to survive after that.
All seven were looking excitedly at us as they spoke. What things did they think that they needed in their life?
"We need love. On the streets no one loves us."
“We need education. I can’t even write my own name. No one has ever taught me. How can people respect us?”
“We need love. On the streets no one loves us. No one respects us. They say that we are bad women”
“We need a new mind. We are trapped into bad thinking. We think that we are not able to do any other kind of work. We think that we are bad women and that we don’t deserve any other sort of life. We don’t help ourselves. We don’t help each other.”
A Place of Help and Hope
The Children’s Uplift Programme (CUP) began in March 2008 to meet the needs of children who live and work on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The initial six month research stage found that girls are in particular need of services and support because they are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexual exploitation than their male peers. CUP, therefore, made the decision to concentrate on working with girls in street situations. However, as they began to build relationships with homeless girls, they discovered that there are many young homeless mothers who receive little support. It was felt that working with these women and teenagers was essential and the most effective way of ensuring the well-being of their young children.
CUP's vision is to see children and mothers who have been in street situations independent, living in society, helping each other, understanding God’s love, and developing holistically.
A drop-in centre was opened in 2009 to provide a place where children and mothers could wash, rest and receive first aid. CUP began a training programme for mothers in 2010 to prepare them for employment and CUP opened a night shelter in the same year.
CUP’s Current Work and Plans
Outreach involves street-based intervention such as building up relationships, health advice, taking mothers and children to clinics and referring them to other services when appropriate.
The majority of CUP’s mothers survive/ survived by selling sex or begging for money and their children are at high risk of doing the same. CUP runs a training programme that mothers with young children are able to be part of for up to two years. The training programme includes literacy classes, teaching in life skills, parenting and values, emotional support and vocational skills. Each participant receives a payment that enables them to leave the streets and rent a home. CUP has partnered with the business Basha Ltd. to provide employment for the graduates of the training programme.
Children and mothers are able to rest and wash at the CUP’s drop in centre. Children, heavily pregnant homeless mothers and mothers on the training program are given a free meal.
CUP builds up positive, consistent and trusting relationships with children and mothers. Through these relationships and spending time talking through life experiences CUP provides emotional support.
CUP runs a small play group for children under five years old, encourages older children to attend local educational facilities and holds non-formal reading and writing classes for mothers. Additionally CUP provides a nursery for the babies of those mothers on the training program.
CUP informs service users of the health services in the area, provides medicines and takes them to clinics when necessary. At the drop in centre CUP provides health teaching and first aid.
CUP runs an emergency night shelter for mothers in crisis situations and four to six girls at high risk of sexual exploitation.
Please learn more at Children's Uplift Programme
Project Number: 98336 Current Funding Progress:
Note: Financial information is updated quarterly and therefore may not reflect the data reported in a more recent article.